Did you know that more than 3.6 million American workers suffer a serious job-related injury or illness every year? This high number of incidents is a reminder to all contracting companies of the importance of implementing health and safety practices on-the-job. If your safety policies are old or outdated, now is the time to update your strategy with these OSHA-approved tips.
Government Guidelines for Construction Health and Safety Practices
Serious job-related injuries and illnesses hurt not only the workers involved but employers, too. It can result in increased Workers Compensation costs, lost productivity and lower employee morale.
As a result, OSHA recommends that contracting businesses have strong safety and health practices.
Job site safety begins with a commitment from top leadership. As a leader, you must send a message that health and safety practices are an important part of how business is done at your organization. Then, you have to inspire your employees to follow your lead.
How to Demonstrate a Commitment to Safety
- Develop and communicate a safety and health policy statement
- Provide resources to implement and operate the program
- Factor safety and health into company planning and decision-making
- Recognize or reward safety and health contributions and achievements
- Practice safe behavior
- Make safety a part of daily conversations
The next step in your new safety initiative is to tap into your workforce’s experience, knowledge and insight. Since workers often know the most about potential hazards, this strategy will help you find solutions to safety and health challenges.
- Develop the initial program design
- Report incidents, including near misses, for investigation
- Analyze hazards
- Define and document current safety practices
- Conduct site inspections and incident investigations
- Train current coworkers and new hires
- Evaluate program performance and find ways to improve it
Find and Fix Hazards
In order to keep your employees safe, you must also find and fix the hazards that are creating injuries. You will be most successful in this process if you act before workers become injured or sick. This proactive approach will ultimately help prevent more incidents.
6 Ways to Stay Safe
- Involve workers
- Review all available information about potential hazards
- Conduct inspections to identify new or emerging hazards
- Investigate incidents thoroughly
- Develop plans to protect workers during emergencies
- Check that current safeguards are functional
OSHA updated its recommended practices for safety and health in 2016 to reflect changes in the economy and the workplace. The government agency’s safety practices are only recommendations and are not obligated by law.